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The Beauty of Making Lists
Life can be incredibly overwhelming, but fortunately we have systems we can use to make it a little more manageable
Here's the latest biweekly Torch newsletter, where we compile our experiences for you to learn from right into your inbox.
The grocery list. The todo list. The task list. FBI's most wanted li- well, maybe that one's not so relevant... uh, anyway, moving on.
Lists kind of sound dreadful, maybe a little tedious, but have you ever wondered why the concept of list-making has stuck around for so long? Todo lists are one of the oldest task management systems, and grocery lists are still used when we go shopping. Both of these lists, among other types of lists, are constantly being improved: new apps and formats are being adapted every single day. Why? The short answer: lists are effective.
The Finite List
What's beautiful about lists is that they are finite, or in other words, they have an ending. Apologies to any mathemeticians out there, but we're not talking about Integers or Real Numbers here- I'm talking about any list you could write on paper.
When you're feeling overwhelmed, make a list of everything going on in your head. I've had a "few" mental breakdowns and lists help me spill out everything on my mind. The list allows me to take whatever is in my head and put it into reality, giving my mind some space. Also, when I get to the end of the list (remember, lists are finite here!) I'm reminded of the fact that of everything going on in my head, it is manageable- even if it doesn't feel like it.
Words and I don't feel like we're getting along today, so for example... suppose your kitchen is feeling pretty sparse and you need to go shopping. Make a list of all the items you need. You'll quickly realize, after perhaps 5 or 10 items, that you need to really think... "ok, what else do I need?" You'll soon after get to a point where you have all the food you need on one nice piece of paper / stored in one succinct place and it's just a nice way to check things off when you go shopping.
Same concept when we're overwhelmed! School picking up and feeling like a lot? Make a list of every thing you have to do, look at that list to remind yourself these things are finite, and allow yourself to focus on just a few things at a time- like going to buy apples first, and not walking in and thinking "oh goodness I have to buy everything".
The To-do List
In game design terms, to-do lists are elegant; simple, clear, and effective. The todo list is something so simple yet so effective for many reasons, and there is a genuine science as to its effectiveness. If you feel as though there are a lot of tasks to do throughout the day, write out each thing next to a little box and then check it off as you go. Looking back at the boxes you've checked is really motivational, not to mention checking something off is pleasurable- seriously, your brain loves it.
To-do lists can be broken down in so many ways and you can reiterate things over and over again and yet the core system is so, well, simple.
Systems exist to help us get things out of our minds and into reality. It frees up "space" and mental energy so we can focus on one thing at a time, leaning on apps and notebooks to keep track of what isn't urgent in the moment so that we can focus on just that- the moment.
If you're ever feeling overwhelmed, get stuff out of your head. Put it on paper in a list and identity what's urgent and what isn't; what you need to do know and what can wait.
🔎 Some Bonus Resources
💬 "There is no such thing is a coincidence, it's just the start of a pattern". This was something I said to a friend a few days ago and I sort of shocked myself with it. Maybe some food for thought!
🎵 Hollow Knight Soundtrack (Spotify) - This game was truly an absolute joy to play, and I think 50% of that was because of it's amazing soundtrack composed by Christopher Larkin. It hits all the different moods and I love to listen to it whilst I study
📝 Todoist - One of my favorite apps, and when I say they take todo lists to the next level… they take it to the next level. It’s free and alongside Trello it’s the software I recommend to people the most.
📄 Latest on Torch Blogs
You can find out blogs HERE! Below is a list of the latest and greatest on The Torch
Thanks for reading! If you learned something, took away a lesson, or just overall enjoyed, we'd appreciate it if you shared this newsletter with a friend or family member!